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How Much Will Your Bartender Make This St. Paddy’s Day?


Happy St. Patrick’s Day! As we prepare to celebrate another great American holiday, I started wondering which cities have the best St. Paddy’s days. I’ve learned a lot along the way:

As employees prepare to “work from home” on Friday, use PTO, call in sick, and other fun things on Friday, I scoped out the cost to pay the people who will be working extra hard: bartenders.

Obviously as they serve Guinness after Jameson after Irish Car Bomb, your friendly bartenders will be getting enough green to hide from the leprechauns. While staying afloat may not be a problem on St. Paddy’s day, on your typical average day, most bartenders rely on some combination of base plus tips to make ends meet.

Without further ado, here’s what bartenders earn in base pay in five top St. Paddy’s Day cities in the U.S.:

San Francisco boasts the largest west-coast St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Not a city known for clovers, this city held their parade a week early this year! Surprised that they come up so high in pay? It actually makes a fair amount of sense because in California, you’re required to pay tipped employees the state minimum wage. That’s true in Washington state as well. The rules are more interesting in Massachusetts, New York, and Illinois. Here’s a handy guide about whether you have to pay these tipped positions the state-wide minimum wage or not.

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Wondering how your bartenders are doing on tips and whether they’re likely to ask for more base pay or not? In a 2017 study of over 500 bartenders PayScale found that of these cities, Seattle bartenders make out best on tips, making an additional $590 weekly in tips. Add that to the base pay and you get a full-time job netting over $55k. Boston followed at $500 in tips weekly, $400 in San Francisco, $310 in New York, and just $290 in Chicago. Chicago’s comparatively meager almost $32k still puts it ahead of the city’s expected 2019 minimum wage for non-tipped workers.

Whether you’re a bar owner, or just planning to go out on Friday: have fun, be safe, and tip your bartender, especially in Chicago and New York!

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Do your bartenders make more than the average in your city? We want to hear from you. Tell us your thoughts in the comments.

Mykkah Herner
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